Emmanuel Macron slapped by man during visit to Drôme

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Footage of the French President being attacked during an official visit to an area in southern France went viral yesterday. A man wearing a green t-shirt was recorded being forced to the ground by the French leader’s security after he attacked Mr Macron in Tain-l’Hermitage outside the city of Valence.

The footage caused a stir internationally and comes as the embattled French leader continues to suffer in the polls ahead of next’s crucial presidential election.

Addressing the issue with French publication Le Dauphine, he said that they shouldn’t “let violent people dominate the public debate. They don’t deserve it.”

He added: “Everything is fine. This incident must be put into perspective.

“I think it is an isolated event. This should not obscure the rest of the important subjects which concern the lives of many.

“We must respect the roles in the Republic and I will never give up this fight.

“The roles are bigger than us and should not be the object of aggression. In fact, I recently wrote to one of the mayors of Drôme who has been attacked.

“In a Republic, there is freedom of expression, controversy, freedom to vote, and democratic pluralism.

“There can be no violence, no hatred, neither in speech nor in actions. Otherwise it is democracy itself that is threatened.”

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He went on to dismiss claims that the political climate in France is turning increasingly toxic.

This comes as far-right National Rally leader Marine Le Pen continues to gain traction with much of the country’s public.

Mr Macron said: “I don’t want isolated individuals or extremists to be able, in a way, to make us forget the rest. The French are republican.

“The overwhelming majority of French people are interested in the underlying issues.

“Let’s not let isolated facts, violent individuals, as there are always some in the demonstrations too, dominate the public debate: they don’t deserve it.”

The assault on the democratically-elected leader was roundly condemned by French politicians.

Frexit campaigner Francois Asselineau said: “It is unprecedented in history – at least since 1945 – that the President of the French Republic is slapped in a walkabout.

“This is yet another alarm signal of the almost explosive situation in our country.”

National Rally MEP Gilbert Collard: “The only tolerable slap is the election slap he will receive in 2022! I condemn this violence.

“A slap on a President of the Republic is not just a slap, it carries a dynamic of deterioration of an image that goes beyond Macron, which concerns all the Presidents of the Republic to come.”

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